LBM_52_Greeter_Michael_By Jody Tiongco-6_BThis March marked the 125th birthday of Laguna Beach’s official greeter. 
Here’s a look back at his legacy and others who have welcomed so many to our town

 

Every morning at 7, a man appears on the corner of Brooks Street and Coast Highway. Like clockwork, he’ll hang his bright red coat on the outstretched finger of the larger-than-life colorful statue, allowing his red and black sequined vest to glisten in the morning sunlight while he tunes his AM/FM radio to Energy 103.7. As cars whiz by, his dance moves settle somewhere between the King ofPop and the robot as he begins waving his gloved hand joyfully. The performer—Michael Minutoli—isn’t looking for much more than a smile and a wave in return.

This sight is a welcome tradition started decades ago by a drifter who settled in Laguna and couldn’t help but greet visitors to the town he so cherished. And Michael, arguably the modern-day incarnation, rationalizes why.

“[I have a] passion for this city,” he explains. “My mother told me you can’t love something unless it has a heart, but I adore this community that we live in, and I never want to leave.”

There are a handful of men who are widely recognized as Laguna Beach greeters, but the city has officially christened just one: the incomparable Eiler Larsen, who would have celebrated his 125th birthday this year, on March 27.

 

 

 

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